Murkowski Welcomes Major Announcement on Alaska’s Willow Project
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) issued the following statement after the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for ConocoPhillips’ Willow project within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).
“From day one, I’ve elevated the Willow project to the Administration as my top priority, and I will continue to hold them accountable to their commitment to see this additional environmental review through so that construction can begin this winter. Responsibly-developed Alaskan energy benefits both our national security and American families who are facing near-record energy prices,” said Senator Murkowski. “The Willow project has gone through several extraordinarily stringent environmental reviews and will adhere to Alaska’s world-class safety and environmental standards. It’s no wonder the project has such broad support from Alaskans—including the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Alaska AFL-CIO, the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, and Alaska Native stakeholders across the North Slope.”
ConocoPhillips’ Willow project will help restore throughput in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which is one-quarter full, and play a critical role in bolstering domestic energy security at a critical time. It will bring billions of dollars of investment and revenues to Alaska, spurring opportunities and economic growth across the State and in communities on the North Slope. Willow will produce up to 160,000 barrels of oil per day and create over 2,000 good-paying construction jobs for Alaskans.
The Willow Project has support from a wide range of Alaska individuals and groups, including the mayors of the North Slope Borough, Utqiagvik, Wainwright, and Atqasuk, the ANCSA Regional Association, the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association, the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Trucking Association, the Associated General Contractors of Alaska, and the Alaska Maritime Agencies.
- On May 26, 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief with the U.S. District Court for Alaska defending the Willow Project. After reviewing the final Record of Decision (ROD) for the Willow Master Development Plan (MDP), approved in October of 2020 by the Trump administration, for consistency with the Administration’s initial executive orders on addressing climate change, the Administration found the ROD legally sufficient. The filing followed weeks of advocacy and outreach by the Alaska Delegation to President Biden and his administration.
- On April 26, 2021 the municipal mayors of Utqiagvik, Wainwright, and Atqasuk—three communities located within the boundaries of NPR-A—wrote to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland asking her to allow the Willow MDP to move forward.
- On April 21, George Edwardson, president of the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, wrote to Secretary Haaland in support of the Willow MPD.
- On April 15, 2021 North Slope Borough Mayor Harry Brower Jr. and Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige wrote to Secretary Haaland urging her to allow responsible oil and gas development on federal lands in Alaska to proceed.
- On February 13, 2021 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals extended a District Court injunction of the Willow MPD, pending appeal.
- On February 1, 2021 the U.S. District Court for Alaska issued an injunction on the Willow MPD.
- On October 27, 2020, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued the ROD for the Willow MPD.
- On August 14, 2020, BLM published the final environmental impact statement for the Willow MPD.
- In 2018, environmental review for the Willow project began.
- In 1999, ConocoPhillips acquired its first lease for what would become the Willow project within the NPR-A.
Read the Alaska Delegation’s prior letters to the Department of the Interior about the importance of the Willow project here and here.